3 Cars With Manual Transmissions You Can Buy for Under $20,000

Vehicles equipped with manual transmissions have become a rarity over the last few years. Many fear before long, you won’t be able to buy a new car with three pedals and a stick shift in the U.S. It’s widely believed you’ll only be able to find a manual transmission in luxury cars or sports cars.

Can you still find a manual transmission in cars today? There are a few options. Here are three affordable new cars you can still get with a stick shift for under $20,000.

A manual transmission gear select inside of a vehicle with black interior.
Manual transmission gear select | Getty Images

The 2022 Chevy Spark

The 2022 Chevy Spark starts at $14,595 with a manual transmission option in every model. The cabin is nicer than expected and handles very well.

The latest Spark seats four. The back seat is tiny and tricky to fold down. But if you can live with that, it has a lot to offer, including a user-friendly infotainment system and decent materials in the cabin.

It has an anemic four-cylinder engine. The Spark isn’t going to impress anyone on the highway, but you’ll see its actual value around town. The manual transmission offers an even better driving experience than the CVT.   

Its compact size makes it easy to navigate and park on busy streets. It doesn’t have a lot of active safety features, at least with the base trim, but it does offer excellent gas mileage, with an EPA-estimated 29 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway with the manual transmission, according to U.S. News.

It was recently announced the Chevy Spark is being discontinued with 2022 being the last year you can get a new one. So, if this vehicle interests you it may be wise to get one while they last.

The 2022 Mitsubishi Mirage

The 2022 Mitsubishi Mirage starts at $16,125, and you can get a manual transmission with the base trim only. It is a great price for a car that seats five has a generous warranty, and has more cargo space than you’d think.

Like the Spark, it gets great gas mileage but is not known for its thrilling driving experience. It has a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine that puts out an underwhelming 78 horsepower. You won’t win any races, but it’s easy to park and gets an EPA-estimated 33 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway.

Since it’s a hatchback, there’s more room for cargo in the back. The cabin may look as expected at this price range, but it’s well-equipped with automatic climate control, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay as standard across the lineup. All models also offer a front-passenger vanity mirror and departure and welcome lighting. Car and Driver even recommends the base ES trim with the manual transmission.

The 2022 Nissan Versa

The 2022 Nissan Versa also offers a manual transmission with the base S model starting at $15,080. The latest Versa provides the most advanced safety tech in its class, good gas mileage, and a relaxing ride.

According to U.S. News , the Versa has a lot to offer as a subcompact car. It’s visually appealing and comfortably seats up to five people. The car’s four-cylinder engine only gets 122 hp. However, the ride is smooth, and the front seats are comfy, making it an ideal commuter vehicle. Versa gets 27 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway with the manual transmission.

The interior uses nice materials, including soft-touch surfaces on the dashboard and doors. Two adults can sit pretty comfortably in the back. You can add more convenience and comfort features with the higher trims, but they come standard with an automatic CVT.

The Versa offers excellent standard safety features like forward automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, pedestrian detection, and a rearview camera.

All these options are great for those that enjoy a bit of the old days and desire a manual transmission. It just depends on exactly what you are looking for.

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